Re-Wilding

house with plant

Blessings of wind be upon me. May my sails billow wide, May I breathe deeply the gift of inspiration…

This spring I’m using Christine Valters Paintner’s book Water, Wind, Earth & Fire, as my morning reading and lectio. In the first chapter “Wind,” She writes: Begin each day by intentionally setting aside your plans and offering a prayer asking for direction from the flow of the Spirit present in the wind.

There is warm sunshine in Bellingham, Washington. I sat outside with my coffee, facing East toward the rising sun. There was a slight breeze rustling the ready to burst buds on the apple trees.

The ground in my backyard is squishy when I walk across it. The foster dog comes in and out with muddy paws so often I’ve given up wiping the kitchen floor with more than a quick swipe with a dog towel; it is dirt colored anyway.

My next door neighbor and I looked at the water pooled in holes where there was pampas grass along our shared fence. She exclaimed laughing, “you could grow Koi.” This year will be dedicated to figuring out where the water flows and dumping dirt and stones in the yard to create a water garden – gardening in a wet backyard with thirsty plants. 

My studies of permaculture have encouraged me to create a bit of a “woodland garden” in the area already blessed with 2 apple trees. I will add fruit bearing bushes, and an array of plants that love shade and dappled sunlight and that draw bees and birds and butterflies.  

The idea of not having “lawn” in my back yard seems not loony but a lovely, sensible idea. The noise of mowers has already begun in my little neighborhood. I added to it with the electric “weed wacker” earlier this week. That noise multiplied by the dozen houses on my street will be a part of every weekend from now until at least October!  But I rant. 

The term “wilding” or “rewilding” has recently come to my attention.  I’m reading Rambunctious Garden, Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World by Emma Marris.

Wilding : a plant growing uncultivated in the wild either as a native or an escape; especially : a wild apple or crab apple. b : the fruit of a wilding ~ Merriam Webster.

At one time a “wilding” was a child “run wild.” Clearly I and my brothers grew-up wildings.  We played in the near-by woods and at the edge of Loon Lake – forbidden areas – unbeknownst to our mother who every summer morning admonished us “get outside!” We were free until the porch lights came on at dusk.

In her new book From the Forest a Search for the Hidden Roots of Our Fairy Tales, Sara Maitland, bereft that the language of computer games is our children’s magic,  quotes Robert Macfarlane:

A basic language-literacy of nature is falling from us. And what is being lost along with this literacy is something perhaps even more valuable: a kind of language magic, the power that certain words possess to enchant our imaginative relations with nature and landscape. 

I am a most fortunate realist. I live in an older neighborhood that used to be an orchard so old fruit trees abound. I also live very close to an ocean and a block away from the interurban trail that leads to a “wild” area within the boundaries of a sprawling “park.” My grandchildren here, and in Oregon, live in neighborhoods considered “safe” with some parental restrictions on their wandering/wilding. 

I don’t have answers to any of the current issues of our Earth environment. I just like Emma Marris’s ideas about keeping/creating some wild areas in neighborhoods and leaving more wild spaces in our backyards as well as all over our one small planet.

Paradise is in our minds and hearts. Mine is seeing my grandchildren and the kids in my neighborhood “running a little wild” with trees to climb and birds and bees and butterflies fluttering around them. In the larger world my paradise is kids not worrying about land mines when they play, or not spending their days picking through my garbage or not being poisoned by the elements in my cell phone. But, again I rant.

Chilten Pearce believes our hearts are electromagnetically enmeshed with the energy of the universe. If so, we can access the universe through our hearts. We can feel our oneness with the earth as Meister Eckhart did when he wrote: “If I put my cheek against the earth’s body, (or maybe a tree trunk) I feel the pulse of God.”

moving 008

I have no plans for this beautiful day except to go where the breezes take me…

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About Marian Methner, B.S., D.Min.

Polydox: accepting that we are many labels, I am mother of 4, mother in law (love) of 4 and grandmother of 5. My life is a collection of bits and starts. I was recently on the road for over a year exploring ideas of living in shared housing. A recent summer course in Permaculture design, solidifed my interest in "social permaculture" or ways we interact not only with our Earthly environment but also with each other. I am back Bellingham, Washington, in a small rental house, owned by my ex husband, talk about shared housing, practicing living in community with family, and friends. My doctoral dissertation A Map to Living Open Heartedly, centers around making art as a way to healing. Paradoxiclly, a recent diagnoses of heart failure (cardiomyopathy) expands this exploration...
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5 Responses to Re-Wilding

  1. What a wonderful post! I love the Paintner quote and need to heed its call. With the surprise of a broken ankle, my plans have blown in the wind. I am readjusting my hearing aid to the call of Spirit for this time. I wonder about applying “wilding” to my office, to my goals and projects and lists!

  2. gwpj says:

    Beautiful, Marian. I love the image and idea of “wilding”. It is pregnant with meaning.

  3. I love what my friend Barb wrote to me in an email about Mcfarlaine’s quote: “This made me think simply and literally of the names of plants and what a lost wisdom that is to some. And how plants’ Latin names call up gods and goddesses and an even older knowledge, perhaps some of the oldest story-telling knowledge of all.” Thanks, Barb

  4. Louise says:

    YOU inspire me Marian with the scenes of spring. We still have mounds of dark black snow.

    • Ohh drat. I’m sorry you don’t have “spring yet.” I remember, was it really 20 years ago in April? My daughter and her husband just celebrated an anniversary so I guess it was. I left snow drifts so high in Pennsylvania that one of my dogs went over the fence. He was was hit by a car because the snow was so high along the highway through our town the driver of the oncoming car didn’t see him. It will be time to snow again by the time your snow melts it seems. Come and visit – although today it is chilly but sunny off and on. xxo, M

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